I read a quote this week, that I never saw before*, but really hit the nail on the head in my opinion: “It’s better to do a little bit of something than a whole lot of nothing.”
This mindset is exactly the opposite of a very big problem: the fact that people don’t make an effort, purely because they know it wont really make a difference in the big scheme of things. While that assumption is correct, it’s premise is false. People who think this way forget one thing: it’s not because you can’t change the entire world by yourself, that you can’t make a real difference with small changes.
It’s one of the first things Sam and I agreed on, way sooner than we ever agreed on a name: If we were to start our own company, it had to have a positive impact on the world.
For us, this seemed like somewhat of a no-brainer (we later learned it isn’t). I personally feel like every single company should put effort into social entrepreneurship and having a positive impact, no matter how small it is. This, because companies and brands are in a very unique position: Not only are they already actively building and engaging with an audience for commercial reasons, they also have a much bigger economical impact than individual people do and on top of that, in some cases, this economical impact translates to political influence as well. If you’re already working on all those different levels, why not use it every once in a while to spread some awareness, or support a certain cause?
With Rockhopper, we try to live by this rule of social entrepreneurship: with every business-decision we make, we ask ourselves: what are our options, and which ones could be beneficial beyond our own personal economical interests? Although this sounds a little heavy, it’s a simple mental test that makes real difference over time.
Take last december for example, we heard about a problem that apparently surfaces every winter: homeless people living in the cold without wearing any socks. Good quality socks are truly important; Not only to keep your feet warm, but also for hygienic purposes. So: we looked at our inventory and decided to donate 400 pairs of socks. How? By selecting designs or sizes that were selling slower than our more popular ones. All together, that’s €4000 worth of socks we gave away…
Think about it: we’re just two students who started Rockhopper as a hobby, because we wanted to do something fun, and it got big enough for us to be able to afford a donation worth €4000. I still can’t believe how crazy that is, but it’s a testament to what we believed in: that our effort could actually make a difference.
We didn’t change the world. We didn’t even change a life. The people we helped are still homeless. They could still use a lot more help than we were able to give, but that doesn’t mean our help was useless. We made a bunch of lives a little bit better, and we’re damn proud of it. On top of that, we spammed the sh*t out of it, which hopefully spreaded some awareness about the homeless living in Antwerp.
It’s better to do a little bit of something, than a whole lot of nothing, so we’ll just keep on doing little bits of little things, like cleaning the oceans one plastic bottle at a time.
*apparently it’s a pretty common one, so I must have been sleeping under a rock :/